Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk Bad?

Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk Bad? - Organic Valley Milk

Have you ever noticed how the big brand organic milks have a much later expiration date than some of the other regular milk options? I’m talking weeks later.

While organic milks may seem “fresher” than conventional milk since they are (thankfully) free of chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics and GMOs, the later date it is actually because a different pasteurization technique has been used.

I briefly touched on this topic in a post I wrote a couple years ago about what kind of milk we drink (and why), and today I’m excited to dive into this topic a little deeper.

A big thanks to Organic Valley for agreeing to answer all my questions about the mysterious process of pasteurization for this month’s sponsored post. I spent over an hour picking the brain of their very experienced Milk and Cream Brand Manager, which, as a side note, also gave me a chance to ask him why the heavy cream of theirs I can find at my store has carrageenan in it – a burning question I know many of us have!

For starters, let’s quickly cover what it means when milk is pasteurized in the first place – I know I barely even spoke the word “pasteurization” before I started wondering where my food came from!

Not to be confused with homogenization, pasteurization is when the raw milk that comes straight from the cow is heated to kill bacteria (both good and bad) to help prevent food poisoning from the bad bacteria and to also extend the life of the milk. There’s a lot of controversy over how safe raw milk is to drink, and since it’s actually illegal for human consumption here in NC (where we live) I prefer to stay out of that debate! And so, pasteurized milk it is for us.

Pasteurization Technologies

Here’s the breakdown of what I learned about some common pasteurization methods…

Pasteurization Process Labeled As Temperature Duration Expiration Before Opening Expiration After Opening
High Temperature Short Time (HTST) Pasteurized 161°F 15 seconds About 16 – 21 days About 5 days
Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Ultra Pasteurized (UP) 280°F 2 seconds About 70 days About 5 days
Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Aseptic Milk* 280°F 2 seconds Up to 6 months* About 5 days
Vat Pasteurization
usually reserved for higher butter fat items
Vat Pasteurized 145°F 30 minutes About 2 to 2 1/2 weeks About 5 days

*I was surprised to learn that shelf-stable aseptic milk goes through the exact same process as the UP milk, but in a completely sterile environment and then added to sterile packaging (therefore eliminating any bacteria in the air or packaging). So the main difference between aseptic milk and the refrigerated stuff is the packaging! It’s commonly found in Europe since refrigeration throughout the supply chain and dairy cases are not as common, and it is also often sold in single-serve milk boxes here in the US (which I find incredibly convenient when we’re traveling or camping).

Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk Bad?

I’ve long said I prefer my cow’s milk to be pasteurized at the lowest temperature allowed in order to preserve as much of the good bacteria as possible. But, as it turns out, heat treatment (at any level) by definition kills up to 99.9% of the bacteria in milk! So when you put it like that you realize the difference between the pasteurization options, such as HTST versus UHT, is pretty minimal.

Now, this doesn’t mean I am going to suddenly change my ways, but when we travel I can often only find the UP milk so let’s just say going forward I won’t feel bad at all about making that purchase.

Considering nutrition, this chart does show a difference between raw milk and the pasteurized milk, but (as I mentioned) not so much between the two different methods of pasteurization that are being compared.

Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk Bad? - Vitamin loss in HTST and UHT milk

Why Offer Ultra-Pasteurization?

The fact of the matter is more retailers are willing to take on and offer organic milk if they feel confident they can sell their cases before they spoil. There is obviously a BIG difference between 21 days and 70 days when it comes to selling through a case of milk (see chart above), and since I am a huge proponent of organic products being available for purchase no matter where you live and shop I think this all makes a lot of sense.

Plus some consumers even prefer their milk to be ultra high temperature pasteurized knowing it will last longer in their fridge before they decide to open it. So, given those points, Organic Valley happily produces and sells milk that’s gone through UHT processing and HTST processing.

Cream and Milk Options

So, as I mentioned above, I had to ask my contact at Organic Valley why they put carrageenan in their cream (an additive that some find questionable). Little did I know they actually offer two different cream options – one with it and one without! And I’m so glad I asked this question because it led to discussion about how there are so many different milk and cream options out there and how your grocer won’t know what you prefer if you don’t take the time to ask for it.

As it turns out the Organic Valley cream that’s UP needs the carrageenan to act as a stabilizer since the higher temperature makes the product want to separate, but it’s not as much of an issue with HTST so it doesn’t need to be added. If your grocer only offers one and you prefer the other, you know what to do! :) But remember the HTST won’t have as long of a shelf-life so they’d have to be confident they could sell through their stock before it spoils.

Same goes for your milk when it comes to all the options out there – do you prefer grass-fed, non-homogenized, HTST, etc. and can’t find it? Then it’s time to have that chat with your grocery store (and maybe ask your friends to put in a similar request) because all these options do exist. Check out this list of what Organic Valley offers to help you know what to ask for. I didn’t know I should ask for the different cream because I didn’t even realize they made it until I had this conversation!

Milk Labels We Can Trust

Just like the rest of the food industry many dairy producers like to throw around labels on their packaging that aren’t regulated therefore they’re hard to believe. I think the bottom line here is if it’s coming from a company we can trust then there might be some truth to the non-regulated terms.

Regulated Terms

  • USDA Organic
  • Pasteurized
  • Homogenized
  • Type of Milk: Whole, 2%, etc.
  • Grade A
  • Nutrition Facts
  • Ingredients
  • Excellent Source Of…

So just like the word “natural” in other areas of the grocery store, this means unregulated terms like “grass-fed” and “pasture-raised” – especially on a conventional product – can (unfortunately) mean just about anything. But, if it’s coming from a company that you trust, it can hold more weight.

For example, dairy products that are USDA Organic certified are expected to come from animals with a minimum of 30% grass/pasture in their diet, BUT Organic Valley has decided to go above and beyond that rule and ensure their products instead meet a 60% minimum standard (over the course of a year). I’ve worked with Organic Valley for a while now and even visited one of their farms with my family – for reasons like this I do think it’s a company we can trust.

I hope this was helpful and would love to hear your thoughts about this topic in the comments!

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116 thoughts on “Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk Bad?”

  1. Is it my imagination or does the Ultra Pasteurized milk culture differently or not at all? I’m making yogurt and sour cream and having a difficult time “growing” my bacteria on the Ultra Pasteurized milk.

  2. Sorry, but you clearly are clueless as to how milk is handled in other countries. There’s no difference in Europe compared to what you have described, nor in Asia.
    As pointed out, UHT milk is not great when it comes to making cheese or even yoghurt from it, as the protein in the milk has changed and doesn’t curdle the way it does in non UHT milk.

  3. The reason for UHT is to increase corporate profits, great if they are not a impact to health. A good example of a product that was great for corporate profits and detrimental to human health is Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (transfats or best known as crisco). It was suppose to be better than animal fats that humans have been using for thousands of years. So Lisa a question for the milk companies is how does the high heat effect the fragile omega 3 and 6 (any free radicals formed)?

    Thanks,
    Dean

  4. Good information. I buy Kroger’s ultra-pasteurized pints, small household and rarely use more than a pint at a time. I used to have to throw milk away that spoiled before opening, so I love the prolonged shelf life. My question, I noticed that the carton says “refrigerate after opening”. In the store it is sold refrigerated with the other dairy products, but can it be stored unopened at room temp?

    1. After opening, MUST be refrigerated or it will go bad quickly. Found that out as an exchange student in Austria encountering shelf-stable milk packaging in the grocery store for the first time.

  5. I make home made kefir and the best results are from organic short shelf life milk. When I used UP milk the kefir grains started to turn grey and eventually died. This tells me there is something is seriously missing or deficient in this method and I will never use it anymore.

  6. You couldn’t be more WRONG about Ultra Pasteurized Milk. Think about this… Water boils at 212 degrees. And you want me to believe that heating milk to 280 degrees doesn’t damage it? Organic Valley is filling your head with marketing lies (Like all Big Dairy). The entire Corporate Dairy industry is a lie! UP Milk is DEAD Food.

    1. So what if it is DEAD? The problem with unpasteurized milk is that it can contain a lot of very ALIVE things that can kill people (especially young people). You’d prefer the inevitable deaths that come from consuming raw milk, as long as you don’t consume heat-treated milk? Ridiculous, and arrogant.

    2. Yes. It is known that ultra pasteurization changes the protein structure of the milk. Traditional cheese-making, for instance, with UP milk doesn’t work. We could use some studies on digestibility and other physiological effects of UP milk. Protein srructure is important when enzymes are splitting proteins into usable amino axids.

  7. My wife runs a small dairy farm here on a small island in Scotland, and recently we have begun pasteurising our milk for sale in local shops. First of all, let me mention that we ourselves and our children drink the milk raw, and have done for many years. But by law in Scotland we have to pasteurise it in order to sell it. We use the old slow low temperature batch pasteurising method, heating it to between 63˚C and 65˚C (our pasteurisation vessel can’t easily be more accurate than that) and holding it there for 30 minutes. We then chill it, and bottle it in glass bottles. The response in the local market area (Kintyre) has been phenomenal. People say they haven’t tasted such good milk in 30 years. If they are young, they exclaim that they have never tasted milk this good. If you compare the taste of milk treated this way with the taste of UHT milk, you would never choose UHT.

  8. I grew up drinking milk from Wisconsin dairy cows, and when I moved to California, I found the ‘happy cows’ milk tastes awful. I was excited to try the ultra pasteurized milks on the market. I find they taste better and have a creamier consistency. I do not, however, agree that the shelf life of opened milk that has been UHT-processed is only 5 days. I routinely opened regular milk. To have it spoil in mere days, while my opened UHT milk lasts a month. And I’ve never found UHT milk in a clear or translucent container.

  9. UP milk causes violent stomachaches for me. Couldn’t find regular pasteurized milk any more so I finally gave up altogether on cow’s milk & started drinking soy milk exclusively. Then I discovered one brand of goat’s milk that is pasteurized but not UP. Voila! no stomachaches. Been drinking Summerhill goat milk for some time now & I’m sticking to it!

  10. If there is no nutritional difference between pasturized and ultra-pasturized milk then why is it that a kefir grain will not make kefir in ultra-pasturized milk, but it will in pasturized milk? Something is missing here.

  11. Humans are also the only animals that eat cooked food (well, at least intentionally after a forest fire pretty much every animal eats cooked food). Doesn’t that make cooked food bad? Humans eat dairy products because it’s a method to preserve the abundance of food in summer through the winter. Duh. Before agriculture and food preservation the average life expectancy for a human was 17 years.

      1. Couldn’t the argument be made that they lived longer in bible times because they were closer to perfection? It took a while to to become as imperfect as we are now…

  12. This article would have been helpful if just pasteurized milk was included in the results. And it would also have been useful to have discussed the impact of D3 by the different processes. So this seems to have just been an ad by Organic Valley.

      1. Absolutely agree! Do the proper research and look at the detrimental effects to the enzymes as well as amino acids – protein.

      2. Hi Rich,

        but if that’s the case what about raw or unpasteurized milk that’s is eventually used in coffee, or cooked with? What about ALL food? Do you eat eggs, chicken, raw or “slightly cooked”

        Am I missing something here?

  13. You know, cows milk is for baby cows. Humans are the only animals who do not wean themselves of milk. Even worse, from the milk of a mammal for whom the milk was not designed. Cows milk is bad for humans. Full stop. Do the research.

  14. Do not listen to a brand manager. I like how you said, “I think this all makes a lot of sense.” If something ever makes that much sense then it is not a trustworthy source. I appreciate the effort, but real research needs to be done. One cannot simply ask the company about their product. The majority of the time you’ll get a response full of butterflies and rainbows about how great their product is and how their methods make sense.

  15. I love to read all the comments! First off, Thanks Lisa for the explanation on pasturization. Living in dairy country of upstate NY and Vermont, I did know many of these facts. Luckily, I can get fresh milk at my local Stewart’s, the store that gets all their product from local farms. But, I have also lived in areas where I could not get fresh milk, that is where you appreciate having UHP available. I knew I was getting a safe product, that wasn’t going to spoil in 2 days. So, read your labels, understand the terms used and support local as much as possible. THANKS!!!! And, aren’t we lucky we live in an area of the world where we can be assured our foods are safe to eat and drink.

  16. While attending my 8 year olds school for lunch and refusing to take the garbage they were seving i was told she was required to take it and throw it away! I told the “nutritionist” if you would serve organic ultra pasturized milk she could DRINK it. She then informed me that it was bad for you and any organic milk was. ???!!! We pack lunch from now on.

  17. I have read that the UHT process kills off the Johne’s disease bacteria (a cow disease) whereas regular pasteurizing does not. We don’t yet know if Johne’s disease in cows is the same as Crohn’s disease in humans (same symptoms) but why take a chance?

  18. Ultra-pasteurization makes the milk and cream taste bitter. Sweet cream pasteurized tastes very different from the ultra-pasteurized. I’d rather pay more for the better stuff!

  19. Thank you for this article. I’m actually unable to get anything except ultra pasteurized milk, and I always wanted to know more information. While some people here are skeptical that the milk has been denatured from the high temperatures, it’s just not true. I was told because of this exact reason that I couldn’t make homemade yogurt with ultra-pasteurized milk. They were wrong, and it’s delicious!

  20. WOW! I can’t believe milk can last 70+ days!

    We have a family milk cow. It’s amazing they can get milk to last that long. Amazing and a little concerning. : )

  21. Ultra-pasteurized milk has been so processed and denatured that you can’t even make butter or cheese out of it. No thanks. Our local grocery store sells their own brand of regular-pasteurized organic milk in gallons. We’ll stick with that.

  22. The higher percentage of grass/pasture must be why Organic Valley tastes so good! I’ve tried about every kind of milk out there–including raw, which is legal in my state–and Organic Valley is a winner every time taste wise.

    1. Umm…that chart (and the RDAs) is almost thirty years old. We now have the knowledge and analytics to measure bioavailability, which is really all that matters. The pasteurization of any cultured enzyme product will destroy its integrity. There are dozens of published, peer-reviewed papers regarding this, if anyone bothers to substitute regurgitation for personal due diligence. How many times must humanity fail at attempting to have figured out a better way than nature? This is simply ridiculous.

  23. Hi Lisa,

    I think you are trying to be very good intentioned with this blog post. You want to make things as easy as possible for busy families to eat well, and at the same time sooth any fears they may have about ultra-pasteurized milk. There is just one problem with this. You asked the company that is selling ultra-pasteurized milk. It is in their financial interest to convince you why ultra-pasteurized milk is a healthy dairy option for busy families.

    For information that tells the other side of the ultra-pasteurization story, you may want to read these two articles from the Weston A Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions Journal:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/ultra-pasteurized-milk/

    And another article about the milk business, in general, can be found here:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/milk-it-does-a-body-good/

    Ultra-pasteurization can be troubling as can homogenization which cause the fat molecules in milk to change in size which can contribute to heart disease. You can read more about this subject here:

    Ultra-pasteurization can be troubling. Along with homogenization which cause the fat molecules in milk to change in size which can contribute to heart disease.

    A while back you reviewed the first book by blogger Jenny of The Nourished Kitchen. She truly understands what “real food” is. I realize that you are doing your best – and have come a long way from where you were – but some of the advice you share in the spirit of helping families eat better – is actually harming them. I suggest that you begin to read Jenny’s blog regularly and educate your self about what “real food” really is – specifically dairy and grains. Eating grains that are not properly processed – whether or not you have problems with digestion, gluten, etc., – can lead to poor absorption of minerals and tooth decay.

    You probably already know this link, but I will share Jenny’s blog here:

    http://nourishedkitchen.com/

    Good luck and continued success on your real food journey.

    All the best,
    Mary

  24. This post is a huge disappointment to me. The fact that you are making decisions about what you are feeding your family based on what our government(raw milk is illegal in your state) or a big corporation is telling you shows that you’ve got blinders on your eyes. Pasteurization takes a live food and makes it a dead one! I would encourage you to do more research on the topic. I will be canceling my subscription to your blog.

    1. Jillian Keller

      Well if it’s illegal she can’t get it, unless she drove to another state which seems a little much, short of buying her own cow.

      Also, When we cook our meat doesn’t that kill the bacteria??

      1. This post isn’t about what to do if you can’t find raw milk in your state, The title of the post is “Is Ultra-Pasteurized Milk Bad?”. What I found upsetting was that the post justified pasteurization. I feel that shows a real lack of knowledge about what raw milk really is. And yes, buying her own cow is an excellent suggestion, most states have herd share programs.

        We don’t cook our meat to make it shelf stable! The very thing that makes raw milk so healthy is the good bacteria. Something that is really lacking in American diets. If your body doesn’t have healthy bacteria it can’t fight off the bad bacteria.

  25. So what I’m seeing is that there is very little nutritional difference in raw milk vs either form of pasteurized. I thought this was the reason people drink raw milk bc it is supposedly so much better for you?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Angela. Congrats on your pregnancy! I would have a chat with your OB and if you are looking for a more holistic opinion, you might seek out the wisdom of a physician that practices integrative or even naturopathic medicine.

  26. There is only one store in our town where I can buy milk that is not UHT milk. My kids all think it tastes far better than anything we can get at the regular grocery store. I also make my own cheese and you simply cannot make good cheese with UHT milk.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. I believe that is when milk is separated it into its “parts”–water”, vitamins/minerals, proteins, and butterfat.

  27. I read that UHT actually cooks the milk and modifies the proteins in it (denaturation) which in turn may affect their bioavailability for the consumer. Too bad this point wasn’t addressed.

    And carrageenan should not be consumed, period.

  28. I was raised on a small dairy farm. I drank raw milk just about all my life until I moved off to college and got married (around 20). I’m 33 and haven’t killed over dead with bad bacteria from raw milk. In my opinion, it tastes 200% better than what you get in a store. The milk I drank came straight from the cow. The milkers were placed on the udders and then it went into a glass tank. After that it traveled along a glass pipe to a large stainless steel tank. It would stay in that until the milk man came to get it. My daddy would put a strainer and milk jug at the bottom of the glass tank and fill it up. Can’t get any more natural than that. We always had to shake the jug before we poured out the milk and I still do that to store bought milk. haha
    I do understand that not all dairies operate with high standards of cleanliness. The cleanliness and health of the cows make a difference. Also, what they eat. Cows need GREEN grass to graze on. My daddy always had a particular cow picked out that he would get the milk from. I guess you could say it was our “family” cow. haha

  29. This sounds like a paid ad. I can drink lightly pasteurixpzed milk, though I wish raw were available here, but the UHT makes me sick. Not all additives are required by law to be on the label, either. Carrageenan, for instance, is added to the Organic Valley cream. How do we know it’s not in the milk? Organic Valley is a corporation that lies about its organic eggs and I wouldn’t buy anything else from them, because my life depends on it.

  30. Where is your research showing the negative effects of pasteurization? I’m agreeing with those who have pointed out the diseases that pasteurization prevents – E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria to name a few. Some of these bacteria have serious health consequences. Listeria can cause abortions in pregnant women. Campylobacter can result in Guillain-Barre syndrome – a life-threatening neurologic condition. There are now multiple drug resistant strains of salmonella and E. coli can cause Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome which can cause renal failure. All young children, elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised are more susceptible.

    1. I think that’s the point – there isn’t much “research” saying it’s bad, just anecdotes and raw milk proponents saying how raw milk is good. It’s almost like the “anti microwave” people, they don’t really understand the science behind the technology…

  31. I don’t get it why are we debating about different levels of milk. It’s for baby cows, it’s not for humans. We are literally stealing breastmilk away from babies. If all these grown adult want to drink breastmilk they need to ask their momma to pump some or latch on. I want to see a grown man go up to a cow and suck away, never going to happen.

  32. I find this article very disheartening. And more of a paid ad. When my family started out real food journey that was our milk of choice as well. And then I started to make our own cheese. Turns out your can’t make cheese from UP milk. That was my aha moment! This IS a highly processed food PRODUCT and in no way a REAL food. If it behaves so differently what is is doing differently in my body? The study you site is nearly 30 years old. The milk industry today is night and day different. I think you should do a little more homework when you have such a large readership that really takes your advice to heart. Good Luck and keep learning!

    1. You cant make some types of cheese out of any milk that has been heated. Past. milk is just that- cooked milk, albiet very quickly. We do the same for meat– to make it safe. Raw soft cheese such as queso, has been a souce of listeriosis. This is especially dangerous to pregnant women, children and immunocompromised.

    2. What she really needs to be posting about is how this is a food for a baby cow. It is not ment for human consumption. If grown people want cow breast milk, they should wait in line with the cows calf and suck away.

    3. Totally agree with what Jen said! I researched this issue online, and there was ample evidence that UT milk is essentially faux milk. It’s highly denatured. Why would any one eating “whole food” ever advocate for it? I do not feed it to my kids, but then again, I don’t give them margarine or Velveeta either.

  33. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been trying to get to the bottom about what was entailed in all the different pasteurization processes and what’s best. Your charts break that information down really well. Thanks for all you do!

  34. Thank you so much for this post! I have just started following your blog and using the 100 days site for recipes, and I have been so pleasantly surprised. You answer many questions I have myself and seem to do so authentically. Milk and dairy products are the most mysterious to me and now I have a little bit of my questions answered.

    1. If I were you I would do a little more research as this article does not cover the hot issue of not your mother not your milk. This milk is for a baby cow, and even that baby gives it up eventually. What is with all these grown adults and their children drinking the milk of another species. Not to even get started on the fact that we steal the milk from a baby cow. Then worry about how much cancer is caused by animal products such as these,

    1. My thought exactly. Also that carrageenan is a stabilizer, we know this, but somehow this company is justified.

  35. Thanks so much for what you do to help educate the public! as a working mom of 3 little kids under age 5, I’d love more time to read, research, and educate myself. Thanks for making some of that a little easier!

    1. She fails to mention that this is milk for baby cows, not humans. We don’t consume our mothers breast milk for life, either does a baby cow. So why are we stealing breastmilk of another species and then drinking and consuming it for life?!? Makes no sense. Ditch the dairy!

      1. Thanks for your comment, however, I will choose to drink and eat dairy, and am happy doing so. I have no desire to be vegan…ever! And I have a TON of breastmilk in my freezer right now, and who’s to say that we aren’t all drinking it? It’s super healthy, and I am sure my baby would not mind sharing it with the rest of the family!

  36. When you say “free of growth hormones”, this is a false statement, actually milk, organic or not is full of growth hormones. This is a problem for adults and children alike developing cancer later in life.

    1. You are very correct! People need to get off the breast milk of another species. Even baby cows don’t drink cows milk for life.

  37. With all the hype recently over the benefits of raw milk, I am very surprised to see that there is hardly any nutritional difference between raw and pasteurized milk. What is the point of drinking raw milk then? I have a friend who both her and her son became seriously ill from drinking raw milk recently. I wonder if the benefit is worth the risk?

    1. The milk that has been pasteurized has added synthetic vitamins that are lost with the pasteurization process, whereas raw milk has the natural vitamins in tact and nothing needs to be added.
      Another upside to drinking raw milk is that you can see the cows and how they live and graze outdoors on green grass, and they are clean and healthy. Not all farms treat their cows the same. Also the sanitation requirements for raw dairy farms are much stricter than farms where milk will be pasteurized, which means that they can milk a cow with dirty or sore/infected udders (not uncommon) and it’s considered “OK” because the bacteria will be killed. I personally think that’s gross.
      That said, I’d love to drink raw milk more frequently but I can’t afford the price right now so we drink what we can afford.
      By the way, studies have been done that determined there is no greater risk at becoming sick from raw milk than there is pasteurized milk. So while it’s unfortunate that it happens, it can happen to any kind of milk (think Blue Bell ice cream, they somehow got listeria in their products.)

      1. As a veterinarian , I will tell you that there are many studies that demonstrate the dangers of raw milk. It really can make a person very ill. As pointed out in this great article, the nutrient content is the same, and great healthy, eco friendly options are readily found at your local store, so why take the risk? Puchacing locally is a great option, and vat or other small scale past. options exixt as well.

      2. As a veterinarian, how do you justify drinking the breast milk of another species???? And not even for just babies, but for life?!? Everyone here really needs to wake up, cows milk is for baby cows! And even they don’t drink it for life

      3. Human cultures have evolved to utilize a variety of foods and although a facinating topic, what one chooses for protein, fat, carb (food) cultural food choices are a much larger topic than can be contained in this forum. I respect one views to be vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, etc. and strive to make their food choice safe and wholesome.

      4. But we are not cows, we are an omnivorous species of animal. We can eat almost anything available or desired. Your point is valid, I get it. However, I also recognize that as humans we do not simply select food to meet our biological need to survive, but rather for individual reasons that are based on multiple factors such as economics, culture, health and politics so to tell someone that they should or should not eat something is a self defeating task.

    2. From a well read registered dietitian: it’s all about what you absorb. The enzymes in raw and low temp pasteurized milk are critical!

      1. As a dietitian why would you recommend humans drinking the breast milk of another species? And doing if for life?!?

  38. I had no idea there was so much to know with the different pasteurizations. I’ve just recently started to cut out process and this helps tremendously!!! thanks so much for taking the time to help this busy mom/wife.

  39. We buy milk from a local dairy store here in Lawrence, KS that uses VAT pasteurization. My husband can actually drink the whole milk (which is what we buy and drink) in smaller amounts. He has an issue with the store-bought milk upsetting his stomach. Also, my 7-year old who has Down Syndrome and issues with digestion/constipation can also drink this and it doesn’t give her issues. Wondering if you or Organic Valley can comment on this? We love supporting our local dairy, however sometimes the grocery store right around the corner is more convenient than going all the way across town for just milk. We’ve been told that the VAT process is best simply because it leaves the “good” enzymes/bacteria in the milk which allows the body to be able to digest the milk better. Any response would be appreciated! Also, thank you for all of your great information on your website and your wonderful cookbook which I received as a Christmas present.

    1. I’m no scientist, but have done my homework.
      I think the reason for the sensitivity, and what is not mentioned in this article, is that the ultra high temperature process kills enzymes that actually make the milk easier to digest. The lower temperature allows more enzymes to survive.
      I’ve heard many people speak of the same issues with easier digestion of the lower temperature pasturized milk.
      I buy my organic milk from Rockview dairy in California. I think that the local trader joe’s also carries Rockview under their trader joe’s organic milk label. It is marked as regular pasturized, not ultra.

  40. I’m lactose intolerant but since I drink OV 100% organic grassfed cow milk I never have any issues. It only has one ingredient: Organic Milk. it’s also non-homogenized.

  41. Our family lives outside the U.S. and find it essential to only drink UHT milk. We’ve done a lot of experimenting over the years and have found that we prefer the taste of UHT milk from New Zealand over UHT milk from any other country. We have tried many different brands from many different countries. Thanks for this post, Lisa. I was happy to see that the nutrition from UHT milk was almost as good as the HTST!

  42. Lisa, Thank you for this article! I would prefer to have my loves drink/use un-homogenized milk products and wasn’t aware that Organic Vally milk was NOT homogenized. I will be looking more closely my next trip to the grocery store! This info was very helpful for me as I was unaware of the differences in methods of pasteurization.

  43. We actually drink non-homoginized vat pasteurized milk. The brand is Southern Swiss Dairy. Not sure if it is carried across the country but I am in Savannah, Ga and they carry it at Whole Foods here. I just mention it because the chart says it is saved for high butterfat items.

  44. But the taste….oh yuk! If ultra-pasturized only choice, I will take it only if really needed. Milk lovers can truly taste the difference.

  45. This is the brand of milk I choose for my family, and it sounds like the one you would recommend? Do you have any thoughts on how long children should drink whole milk? Thank you!

  46. I would like to see the MSG topic addressed in this conversation.

    The ONLY reason I buy more-difficult-to-find Pasturized milk is because it is less likely to contain free glutamic acid, which occurs during processing. The Truth in Labeling site lists “ultra-pasturized” as often containing/producing MSG, while “pasteurized” is described as only possibly containing MSG that may trigger symptoms in very sensitive people.

    For my toddler, I will only purchase whole, organic, pasturized milk. It’s worth it to me.

  47. Michelle Esselstrom-Howe

    What about the DHA along with vitamin D that is commonly added. I see it mostly on the Horizon Milk options (whole and 2% chocolate). Is it safe? Or is it better to get whole milk without it?

    Thanks!

  48. LIving in Singapore, where we have no cows to produce milk, I am mighty glad that organic valley has an extended expiry date as it means our supermarket ships it over from the US so we can all have the opportunity to buy organic milk.

  49. Excellent article. I do have 2 questions; If each method of pasturization kills 99.9% of bacteria, then why the difference in shelf life? And are there any health benefits to non-homogenized vs homogenized?
    I always appreciate your research!

    1. Hi Michaelia,

      There are a number of excellent articles on the topic of homogenization which will answer your question, but for the sake of expediency, the bottom line is:

      “During homogenization there is a tremendous increase in surface area on the fat globules. The original fat globule membrane is lost and a new one is formed that incorporates a much greater portion of casein and whey proteins. This may account for the increased allergenicity of modern processed milk.”

      http://www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/dairyedu/homogenization.html.

      This scientific research was quoted in an article at the Weston A Price Foundation’s website and also addressed in their journal Wise Traditions, you can read more here:

      http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/milk-homogenization-heart-disease/

      Also, worth reading is “Milk: It Does a Body Good? It All Depends on Where It Comes From, Doesn’t it?”

      http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/milk-it-does-a-body-good/

      Hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Mary

  50. thank you so much Lisa for always going above and beyond for us!! This is really great info! I buy organic valley milk and always get the kind that says grass fed and non homogenized. Do you know if non homogenized is better than homogenized? And I will ask our WF about the cream as well. Right now the only one I can find without caragennan is a brand called Atlanta Fresh. Very good-just organic cream!!

      1. Hi Amy,

        I wanted to add one more piece of information that I hope you will pass on to Lisa for her personal edification. There is a wonderful article at US Wellness meats that discusses the eating of grains and “pseudo-grains” (quinoa, etc.). The article talks about why they should be eliminated from the diet. I don’t go that far in that I think it is OK to eat grains – if they are properly prepared as explained in the cookbook “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. Grains have been eaten by our ancestors – however – they were always properly prepared before consuming.

        None the less, the article is excellent at explaining why grains are a problem for our digestive system. Lisa needs to read this because she spends a great deal of time recommending the consumption of whole grains which may actually be doing her readers – and especially their children – more harm than good. The article can be found here:

        http://blog.grasslandbeef.com/bid/92962/

        I would also highly recommend that Lisa read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Also, an excellent resource for recipes for properly preparing grains, is Jenny McGruther’s Cookbook “The Nourished Kitchen” – which Lisa has reviewed here on her blog. Jenny’s website is also a wealth of information:

        http://nourishedkitchen.com/

        Lisa needs to spend some time educating herself on the topic of grains – and stop ignoring it – especially since she is writing to a large audience of readers. I would hate to see her readers think they are doing well following her advice only to find that they – and their children – develop leaky gut and cavities – and even more health problems than before eating according to Lisa’s instructions. Even though Lisa may chose to eat grains that have not been properly prepared, she has a responsibility to share this information with her readers and then let them decide how they chose to eat their grains.

        Additional articles on this subject can be found at the Weston A Price website:

        1) “Be Kind to Your Grains…and Your Grains Will Be Kind to You” –

        http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/be-kind-to-your-grains-and-your-grains-will-be-kind-to-you/

        2) “Against the Grain – The Case for Rejecting or Respecting the Staff of Life” –

        http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-diseases/against-the-grain/

        3) And this is a video from “The Healthy Home Economist” – Sarah Pope – who is a chapter leader in Florida for the Weston A Price Foundation, who explains how to properly prepare grains:

        http://www.westonaprice.org/beginner-videos/proper-preparation-of-grains-and-legumes-video-by-sarah-pope/

        Lisa can also review Sarah’s website here:

        http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/

        4) Additional articles about properly preparing grains (as well as legumes) can be found here:

        http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/faq-grains-seeds-nuts-beans/

        http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/living-with-phytic-acid/

        All the best,
        Mary

  51. Great article, so informative. I didn’t realize that milk went bad 5 days after opening. We’re not big milk drinkers and this helps a lot.

  52. Excellent article. Thank you! One thing I’m curious about. Can’t use UP for some (if not all…not sure) cheese making according to a recipe book I have. Have you successfully made mozzarella with UP milk?

      1. No you cannot use UT milk for cheese making. UT milk should be considered a processed food. It in no way behaves like raw, vat or standard pasteurized milk.

  53. Thanks for this post! I have a recipe for making yogurt at home, and it says to not use ultrapasteurized. My husband and I wondered why. It turns out that the ultrapasteurized made a runnier yogurt. We weren’t sure if that was the reason or if our starter was too old, or half a dozen other reasons, but this makes sense. Now that we use regular milk instead of organic (the only organic we have available is UP), the yogurt is much creamier.

    1. I use UP milk (the only kind of organic milk I can find) for making yogurt. It works just fine, but I do gently heat the milk first. You don’t want to boil it, you stop when all the little bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Then let it cool until just warm and add your starter. I don’t remember exactly why this helps, but it does something to the proteins in the milk and makes it thicker. Give it a try! :) I love making yogurt at home, it’s so easy, much cheaper than buying it and it saves on packaging.

  54. Thank you for doing the investigating for us, Lisa. I appreciate you asking about carrageenan and it looks like I will be inquiring about the cream without it when I go grocery shopping this weekend. You’ve also inspired me to ask for the Appelgate organic ham. I’ve noticed that the store I shop at carries the natural ham, but not the organic variety.

  55. Thank you so much for posting this! I found it incredibly helpful and answered some questions I’ve been wondering. Finding this blog was the best thing that ever happened to me and my family! Love love love 100 days of real food!

    1. I feel the same way Kris! It truly has changed the way my family thinks about food, eats and cooks. So great to know that others are on this real food journey!

  56. Thank you so much for this post! :) I think organic milk tastes better… We are originally from Upstate NY, where there were tons of dairy farms. “Regular” milk has less flavor to me, so we buy organic, and I was concerned about the nutrition after Ultra pasteurization, this information made me feel better about my choice!

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